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United Methodist Church charges second clergyman for officiating gay wedding

Friday, January 17, 2014

NEW YORK — The United Methodist Church has formally charged another clergyman for presiding at the same-sex wedding of his son.

Rev. Thomas Ogletree

Rev. Thomas Ogletree

The Rev. Thomas Ogletree will be tried March 10 for violating church law against officiating at gay unions, his spokeswoman, Dorothee Benz, announced Friday. It’s the second high-profile United Methodist trial in recent months over same-sex relationships.

In December, pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. The church considers homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Ogletree is a theologian, a former Yale Divinity School dean and a retired elder in the church’s New York district, or Annual Conference. Some clergy had filed a complaint after his son’s 2012 wedding announcement appeared in The New York Times.

Ogletree, 80, said he could not refuse his son’s request to preside at the wedding, which was held in New York, where gay marriage is legally recognized.

“It is a shame that the church is choosing to prosecute me for this act of love, which is entirely in keeping with my ordination vows to ‘seek peace, justice, and freedom for all people’ and with Methodism’s historic commitment to inclusive ministry embodied in its slogan ‘open hearts, open minds, open doors,’” Ogletree said in a statement.

Bishop Martin McLee, who leads the New York Annual Conference, could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.

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The Rev. Randall Paige of Christ Church UMC in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., led the group of clergy who had filed the complaint against Ogletree, according to United Methodist News Service.

An administrator at Christ Church said Paige was off Friday and could not immediately be reached for comment. Theologically conservative Methodists have said they file formal complaints reluctantly, hoping to find another resolution for their disagreements, but feel clergy must be held accountable when they violate church policy.

Ogletree’s trial will be held at First United Methodist Church in Stamford, Conn.

The United Methodist Church is the second-largest Protestant group in the U.S. and claims 12.5 million members worldwide.

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79 more reader comments:

  1. time to blow everyone up

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:49pm
  2. yes! prove to us that “god” is all about hate!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:50pm
  3. stop being ignorant . these are people of free will who choose to hate , we are taught to hate no one THEY CHOOSE to act like this .

    Replied on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:52pm
  4. sorry, but I'm tired of being a victim to an uncaring and ineffectual divine being that does nothing to either the saint or the sinner.

    Replied on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:56pm
  5. I honestly don't think the divine is all about hate - but a lot of it's American Christian followers seem to be. Such a pity :(.

    Replied on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:25pm
  6. BRAVO JAVIER SUAREZ!!! WELL SAID!

    Replied on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 3:40am
  7. I use to be a member of United Methodist Church but I’m no longer because I don’t believe in that of them not being able to marry a gay couple as myself I am gay

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:53pm
  8. I also resigned from the UMC after 50 years. I can not belong to a church that is promoting hate.

    Replied on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:24pm
  9. Same here.....

    Replied on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:56pm
  10. Good for you Terri - never stay in a church where you're not wanted.

    Replied on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:23pm
  11. As was I Terri! Done with all of it!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:57pm
  12. so much for Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors… I guess just as long as you are not gay…

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:58pm
  13. Great father for supporting his son

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:04pm
  14. The religious keep forgetting how this works….the religions DO NOT legalize marriages, the state does. The state license, get it, the state license gives these men permission to marry couples, same sex or otherwise!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:08pm
  15. so so sad :(

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:08pm
  16. Fuck them!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:11pm
  17. They’re going to run out of Clergy if they keep this up. No “Shepherds”, No “Flock”.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:17pm
  18. are Methodists going soft for right-wing politics?

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:18pm
  19. Sad :-(

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:20pm
  20. WE will stand behind you, as we have done Stand with Pastor Frank: Support Equality . Loving your son is not a crime!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:25pm
  21. Give it a rest, Methodists.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:26pm
  22. The Episcopal Church welcomes you.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:27pm
  23. Enough of this.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:29pm
  24. They need to go back and learn about LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:30pm
  25. God is love and love will prevail. The blacks didn’t get out of the back of the bus till they took a stand for civil disobedience.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:37pm
  26. The article says “it’s the second largest Protestant group in the U.S.” Not for long, if they keep this up, I bet.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:43pm
  27. This is sad, my mother is Methodist and her church is very open minded and accepting of everyone. The higher ups need to wake up and change some rules

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:48pm
  28. It’s a testament of the faith and grace when those guiding the clergy take a stand against their institutions to uphold the true teachings of Christ. Bravo, Rev. Ogletree! Mad respect, yo :) P.S. I’m not a Christian but I do know really amazing Christians exist.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:52pm
  29. The Untidy Methodist Church farts again.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:53pm
  30. So UMC really prefers promiscuity to commitment. Stupid.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:58pm
  31. Bigots!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:07pm
  32. I don’t get it! How can The United Methodist Church sponsor Strength For The Journey which is a retreat for people living with HIV but go to these lengths to divert a couple in love and criminalize a man of the clothe. Hmmmm. I rethinking my opinion on this church!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:08pm
  33. Sad!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:11pm
  34. Q: Why do Methodists only have sex in the missionary position?

    A: So no one thinks that they are dancing.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:14pm
  35. How wonderful that they are focusing on things that *really* matter in these difficult times! smh

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:22pm
  36. methodist church rapidly becoming known as THE place for bigots to worship

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:24pm
  37. We don’t need your “god”.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:25pm
  38. and their TV ads say “everyone is welcome” – except don’t expect to marry. WOW! Sorry – discrimination has no place in Christianity. Did Jesus say let all come to me – EXCEPT ……………. NO!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:26pm
  39. There’s no evolving for those who choose to be left behind. I chalk their morals up to the same as those who burned people at the stake for witchcraft. Self righteous people who give me the creeps; anyone who gets their jollies from images of a man being tortured on a cross…it’s sick.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:28pm
  40. no, no, no, no, not again! I’m ashamed of them.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:36pm
  41. wow

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:36pm
  42. One by one, the Methodist Church keeps proving it’s the church for the ignorant bigot and hateful fake Christian.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:47pm
  43. This is one of the reasons that people are leaving organized religion. They teach to hate, istead of teaching love like Jesus did.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:58pm
  44. Hypocrisy at its finest!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:27pm
  45. Are there any churches besides the Unitarians who aren’t opposed to same-sex marriage?

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:28pm
  46. the Metropolitan Community Church is inclusive LGBTQA, & United Church of Christ is LGBT favorable. These things sometimes depend on which state you're in.

    Replied on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 8:20pm
  47. Time to leave this hateful church. Stinks of Westboro Baptists.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:37pm
  48. Hun go paster a more equal rights friendly church!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:38pm
  49. Hate is no longer an acceptable “family value”!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:47pm
  50. …..how terribly ‘christian’….these people need a good laxative….

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:48pm
  51. Did not realize they were so intolerant. What about reconciling churches, are they allowed to perform weddings

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:53pm
  52. Church is woefully out of touch!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:56pm
  53. The UMC church needs to split again!! This anti gay BS is a true deal breaker!!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:58pm
  54. charges him with what? that shit isnt a crime

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:59pm
  55. Charges him with what? Shame, Shame. What would Jesus think? Guess they really don’t care, just like the Pharisees of old.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 8:12pm
  56. OK we get it that this church is hypocritical, already, just go nail your doors shut, hmmmm?

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 8:14pm
  57. They give Christians a bad rap!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 8:35pm
  58. This must stop

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 8:42pm
  59. RECONCILING Methodists are not homophobic. Time for a split in the hierarchy, maybe.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 8:47pm
  60. Will the UMC never learn to let people be?

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:01pm
  61. Good for him! Good for his son! Good for the world! xoxox

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:14pm
  62. Methodist Church obviously didn’t read the Bible and Jesus’ commands to love your neighbor as yourself and not judge one another but let God be the judge.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:28pm
  63. IS ABOUT TIME SOME FREEDOM HAPPENED.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:30pm
  64. Why does who we Hate or Love, Get to be voted on at general conference???

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:36pm
  65. There Sick Sad people Church That’s promoting Hate. I Feel Bad For The Kids That Go To That Church They Will Be Full Of Hate Too Is so Sad

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:48pm
  66. I don’t get all this hypocrisy of Christian people against gays. If all or most of homosexual and gay people were born and raised in “good Christian” homes as part of “holy matrimony under God’s grace and care” how is it possible that two such people living under the grace and care of God could give birth to something they consider evil? Did not God create their offspring from that holy union of “holy matrimony” to produce only that which is good? The hypocrisy is staggering on so many levels. Why do GL people grovel for their approval in the first place?

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:50pm
  67. Fuck Religion.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:51pm
  68. They just don’t seem to get it.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:54pm
  69. Don’t they get it? People are running away from the churches in droves and they still do the same things that drive them away.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:57pm
  70. I love it!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 10:10pm
  71. proud say I left the Methodist church 40 years ago because of their position on social issues

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 10:16pm
  72. When are we going to see an end to Bigotry?????

    Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 12:39am
  73. I’m anxious to see how many more will follow this clergyman’s lead and perform marriages for all. The UMC must be in a tizzy.

    Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 12:51am
  74. So very, very sad.

    Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 12:55am
  75. Get over it churches everywhere…your ways are old and tired…..go. back to where you were 2000 years ago…..

    Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 1:18am
  76. Guess they won’t have many left to preach their hate. Well done sir, you are a hero

    Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 1:25am
  77. What is it with methodist ministers with gay sons

    Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 2:26am
  78. Formally charged him with what , loving and supporting his own son ?

    Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 2:26am
  79. This is not going to end well for the United Methodists. Churchgoers will vote with their feet and their pocket books, just like the 80% of that congregation in Michigan that walked away when the gay choir director was fired. Just sayin’. . .

    Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 2:29am